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BOOK: The Vampire And The Nightwalker
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Shaking off the disturbing thoughts, Secret slid slowly down into the warm, fragrant bubbles and felt as though she was transporting to heaven. Sighing contentedly, she laid her head back against the cool tub and closed her eyes. This was definitely her favorite part of the day.
Dipping her fingertips into the bubbles, she moved them up her arms and across her chest as she bathed. Slowly, she continued the movement over her breasts and stomach. As the palms of her hands lightly grazed her nipples, a little current of excitement coursed through her body. She could feel the instant hardness in response to her touch.
How long had it been since a man had touched her body in this way? Obviously, too long, if something as simple as a bath had her reacting like this.
Trying to ignore the fire she accidently ignited within, Secret continued to bathe. But it was pointless. She burned with a need that could not, would not, be ignored.
Moaning, she gave in to the sensation of pure lust while her hand made its way down her body, to the place that demanded her touch. Letting her knees fall apart, her fingers quickly and deftly found the right place to grant her release.
The second her fingers made contact, her hips arched upward eagerly to meet them. Swirling in circles which became rapid quite quickly, the point of no return hit her like a tsunami. Crying out over and over, she rode the wave that carried her up and over to the side of unadulterated pleasure.
Eyes still closed, Secret let her breathing slow before treating herself to another session.
By the time she was both clean and satiated, the water had cooled considerably and the bubbles had dwindled down to nothingness. On the other hand, she did feel much better. Her tension abated, and she was now in the mood for a glass of wine and dinner. Suddenly, she felt like getting out of the house for a bit. Maybe she would call Marielle and see if she would like to meet her somewhere for dinner.
As it turned out, Marielle was at loose ends for the evening and thought dinner out sounded wonderful. They agreed to meet at La Peniche in the Marigny neighborhood. It was only a few blocks to Bourbon Street, so they could hit a bar or two after eating.
Deciding on a gauzy, red sundress with spaghetti straps and matching red sandals, Secret was dressed in no time. That was another advantage of living in such a casual location. The only time people really dressed up here was for a ball of some sort or for a private, special occasion. Even couples that came to New Orleans to get married didn’t always dress formally.
Bare-legged and with her hair flowing freely, Secret headed out to her car. She was nearly halfway there when that sensation hit her once more. That chill creeping up and down her spine made her halt. Whoever was watching her was very focused. There was an intensity emanating from the presence that she didn’t like. She wanted nothing more than to race back inside her house and lock herself in, but she had to wonder if mere locks would protect her from whoever this was.
Taking a deep breath, she chose not to let this ruin her night and she continued on her way to the car. Trying to appear normal, she unlocked the car and got inside. She was relieved that the engine turned over instantly. In the back of her mind, she almost feared that whoever was so focused on her might have taken steps to trap her at home. The relief was so great as she drove away, that she almost felt a bit silly for her panic. Almost.
CHAPTER THREE
SHAKING HIS HEAD in amazement, Kane watched Secret as she picked up on him once more. He had to give her credit for the courage she displayed. Most women would have turned and run back into their homes, firmly locking the doors behind them.
Not this one, though.
She continued on her way after a momentary pause. He could tell that she was nervous, but he could also tell that she wasn’t experiencing any great terror at the thought of being observed. Rather, she was simply uneasy and mildly curious about who would be so fixated on her.
La Peniche wasn’t exactly large enough for him to remain invisible to someone with Secret’s abilities. It was a lovely restaurant, but not a place to be discreet. She would ferret him out in no time.
He would simply have to follow her to whatever bar she and her friend decided to pass away the time in after dinner. It would be much easier to remain unseen and undetected in a bar full of people. She might still be able to tell that she was being observed, but it would be almost impossible for her pick out who was observing. That is, unless she was a lot better than he thought.
Going to the bar where Secret had been the last few times he had followed her, he sat down in a booth to wait. He ordered a glass of red wine and watched as the throng of people inside the place expanded. That was one of the reasons he found this place to be exactly what he needed. With so many people packed in, he was able to accomplish whatever he needed to with absolutely no notice taken of him. That’s also what made him reasonably certain that Secret Lavalle wouldn’t be able to spot him too easily.
As it turned out, he didn’t have to wait very long for Secret and her friend to make their way inside. They came in the door laughing, looking very relaxed and happy. Many men’s heads turned in their direction.
The women made their way straight to the bar and exchanged a few words with the bartender. Kane knew that this man was a friend of theirs, simply from the conversation he had initiated with him. Neil was a friendly sort of fellow, but then he had to be in order to be a successful bartender. It was clear that all of Neil’s customers liked him. He always found time to talk to them, whether he was busy or not. It seemed he had found a way to mix drinks, serve them, and talk to the customers all at the same time.
Neil was had been full of information about Secret Lavalle and, once Kane asked had asked him nicely, Neil was quite forthcoming about her. Now, all Kane needed to do was wait for the right moment to approach her. Tonight probably wasn’t going to be that right moment, so he would simply continue to observe her. But he was always able to change his plans on a second’s notice.
As he sipped his wine, Kane watched Secret and her friend, who, he had learned, was named Marielle. They took a booth toward the back and did everything they could to fend off would-be one night stands. It was a ritual they were used to, as very attractive women. The men came, one after another; sometimes even in pairs… Yet, Secret and Marielle kept sending them on their way.
Kane watched in amusement as each man went slinking away with a dejected demeanor. The really interesting thing was that the ladies didn’t really seem aware of the effect they had on the male patrons of this bar. He might have felt some sympathy for them if he didn’t find them so amusing.
So, that was something else he found intriguing about Secret. She didn’t cheapen herself, or let these performing monkeys take advantage of her, which showed that she thought much more of herself than a stranger’s plaything. With every passing minute, he became even more convinced that he was right.
Just then, he saw a troubled look appear on her face and she started to glance around. He had been staring too intently at her again. That’s when she always seemed to feel him. He needed to use more caution when watching her.
“WHAT’S WRONG, SECRET?” Marielle asked when she saw the look on her friend’s face.
“I’m not really sure, Mari,” Secret replied. “Lately, I’ve been feeling like someone is watching me. It’s happened at home before, but I just felt it again.”
“In here?”
“Yes, in here.”
Marielle started to crane her neck and look around to see if anyone was overtly staring at them. Secret reached across the table and grabbed her hand.
“No! Don’t do that! If someone’s watching me, it will be obvious that I know it.”
“So? If they see that you’re aware of it, maybe they will stop doing it!”
“It’s not that simple, Mari. This is different somehow. I can feel this level of intensity that’s like nothing I’ve ever experienced.”
“Well, then what do you think it means?”
“I wish I knew. I’m kind of uneasy, but not terrified. Does that make sense?”
“If you were anyone else, girl, I would say you need therapy..”
“I noticed twice earlier today. Once, when I was letting a client in, and then again, on my way to the car to come meet you. I was really happy that my car started so I could get out of there.”
“Wow! Okay, well, what will you do tonight? Do you want to stay with me?”
“You know, I might take you up on that. I don’t have any clients until after noon, tomorrow. But, I’ll see how I feel later. So far, I haven’t felt any true danger or anything. It’s just that I’m not too thrilled with being stared at like this. It’s a pretty strong feeling.”
“Well, if it’s like that, I’m positive it’s not any of these bozos that keep hitting on us here.”
“Oh yeah, me too! None of them have that kind of energy...”
“Ahhh, so you checked?” Marielle teased.
“Of course I checked!” Secret replied. “I wanted to be sure that we were both safe, after all. If it was one of these guys, I would tell Neil and let him remove the problem, so to speak.”
Secret had the ability to crawl into someone’s mind and see what was in there. If she had felt that any of those guys had the potential of being a stalker, all she had to do was psychically snake into his head. There were a few that seemed to have a harder time taking no for an answer than the rest, and she had performed a little check on them. But the only thing she found in their brains was immature, frat boy intelligence.
She was sure that they were safe from those guys. What bothered her was whether or not they were safe from the actual watcher. There was no clear way of knowing this without being able to identify who it was.
“At any rate, it’s gone now.”
“What’s gone?”
“The feeling,” Secret replied. “I don’t think I’m being watched anymore.”
“That’s good, right?” Marielle asked.
“It might be. I’m not sure,” Secret said, hesitantly.
“Why wouldn’t it be good?”
“Whoever it was might have just pulled back a little. I’m starting to wonder if this is someone who also has some abilities. If that’s the case, I may not always know when I’m being watched.”
“Well, that sucks! I wouldn’t be comfortable with that at all!” Marielle exclaimed.
“Oh, I’m not, trust me! But it is something that I need to consider.”
Secret was still casting her eyes around the bar to see if anyone unusual caught her attention. She kept being drawn to a certain booth in the back of the bar on the opposite side of the room.
Marielle noticed.
“Do you see something?” she asked.
“I don’t know… No, don’t turn around! There’s a booth back there, but no one is in it. I see an unfinished glass of wine, though. Someone was obviously sitting there until very recently. You know how fast the staff here is about cleaning up the tables.”
“Why don’t you go ask Neil? He’ll know if someone was sitting there and, knowing him, he’ll probably be able to tell you who it was.”
“Yeah, you’re right. I’ll go up and get us more drinks and talk to him while I’m there. I’ll be right back.”
Secret rose from the booth and fought her way through the crowd to get to the bar.
“Hey, Neil!” she called.
He looked up from a couple of drinks he was setting up, saw it was Secret, and smiled brightly.
“Hey, girl,” he called back. “Be there in just a sec!”
True to his word, Neil was with her in under a minute.
“What can I get for you, beautiful?” he asked.
“Marielle and I would like refills,” she said, giving him her sweetest smile. “Also, can you tell me who was sitting in that booth back there? The one with the unfinished glass of wine?”
“Oh, yeah, sure,” Neil said as he worked to make their drinks. “That was some dude. Pretty nice, really. Tall, black hair, weird eyes. Kind of intense. How come?”
“Oh, I just wondered. Marielle thought she saw someone there that she knew, but clearly it wasn’t who she thought. Thanks, Neil.”
Gathering up their drinks, Secret returned to the booth.
“Well, we were right about there being someone in that booth. Neil said he was tall, with black hair and weird eyes. Not sure what that meant and he was so busy that I really didn’t want to tie him up any longer. Oh, and he said that the guy was kind of intense.”
“That certainly bears some looking into,” Marielle said, as she sipped her drink.
“I agree, but we can’t be sure who he was or why he was watching, if he actually was.”
The women sat there, sipping their drinks, as they contemplated what they should or would do next. In the end, they couldn’t come up with anything constructive.
“Maybe I’ll talk to Neil at some point, if I keep having these feelings. He’s met the man sitting at that booth. If I push a little, he’ll probably answer any questions I ask.”
“Are you kidding?” Marielle exclaimed. “Neil would walk across hot coals for you! So yeah, I’m pretty sure you could get him to answer a question or two.”
Dramatically rolling her mossy green eyes, Marielle tipped her glass up, draining the rest of its contents.
Secret looked at her friend wryly.
“Why do you always say things like that?” she asked. “When have I ever done anything to make you, or Neil for that matter, think that I’ve got a thing for him?”
“That doesn’t matter,” Marielle replied. “It’s all right there in the way he looks at you. I swear, his whole face just lights up when you come in here. You’re just not seeing from my viewpoint.”
Secret shook her head at the total idiocy of it all. Neil flirted with all of the women who came into the bar. Hell, he even flirted with some of the gay men! He was a bartender and tips were a huge part of his income. Making nice with the patrons served to net him quite a nice little bankroll by the time he got off work.
BOOK: The Vampire And The Nightwalker
3.36Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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